Companies offering financial products or services are frequent targets of patent infringement accusations. The new “covered business method review” (CBM) created by the America Invents Act (AIA) provides these companies with a powerful new tool to challenge the patentability of a certain class of patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). CBM offers a faster proceeding (18 to 24 months), a wider range of patentability challenges and more favorable estoppels than other forms of contested proceedings before the PTO, such as inter partes review and post grant review.
CBM first became available on Sept. 16, 2012. Since then, 15 petitions for CBM have been filed. SAP America filed the first CBM petition against a patent for pricing products held by Versata Software. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. filed 10 CBM petitions against various insurance patents held by Progressive Casualty Insurance Co.. CRS Advanced Technology, Interthinx, MeridianLink and a group including Bloomberg, Charles Schawb, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade filed the remaining four petitions . This article provides guidance to parties considering CBM and insight into how CBM has been used in the first three months of its existence.